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home > races/results > usa: massachusetts > the fifth annual 1st run, just for fun on january one – happy new year!

The Fifth Annual 1st Run, Just for Fun on January One – Happy New Year!
This innovative holiday celebration, race and party with excellent amenities, will be ideal to start your New Year! Whether you run to celebrate or to fulfill that New Years' Resolution, the 1st Run is for runners who truly want to have fun! On January 1st, Lowell, Massachusetts will be the place to be!

The Fifth Annual 1st Run, Just for Fun on January One – Happy New Year!

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1st Run Event Website

By Skip Cleaver
Posted Sunday, 22 December, 2013

After five terrific years this dual race event is now a classic in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts to celebrate the New Year. Take your pick of the 5K or 10K and set a personal record for the year on New Year's morning. Then have a blast at the party with good food, adult beverages, live music and unique--and now famous--wine stopper medals from Ashworth Awards.

And this is the first race in another way--it is the first of seven events in the exceptionally popular "Will Run for Beer" series put on by LOCO Sports. But more about that later.

Ready … Set … 1st Run!
The 1st Run 5K and 10K has created more excitement and positive reviews than any other holiday race in the Merrimack Valley; and there have been many races in this hotbed of running and running lore. The 1st Run is easy to get to, flat and fast in quiet neighborhoods of the Pawtucketville section of Lowell, and along the mighty Merrimack River. But most importantly, these races represent a party where runners can really celebrate the New Year with new and old friends, and enjoy amenities normally not found in a local race. It will be a party and a sure PR for 2014! Get your running off to a great start with hundreds of like minded party runners with this racing celebration.

Ashworth Awards, a Massachusetts company that designed the popular Wild Rover Series medallions and is the best in the business, will supply finishing medals for all individuals completing either of these races. This will be a unique "Wine Stopper" medal, a valuable keepsake to recall the fifth annual 1st Run, an event which has become a classic in the region for the holidays!

The first 750 registered will receive a custom 1st Run knit hat AND 1st Run knit gloves; all other preregistered runners will receive 1st Run knit hats. However, do not wait--they can only take 1,800 and will sell out as they did last year. Please visit the Race Website at

And there are more amenities besides the knit hat and wine-stopper medal: They will provide commemorative "personalized" bibs with your name right on it (if registered by December 10th), part of the amazing Chronotrack B-tag (chip attached to the bib) timing system will be used, and Yankee Timing will quickly post your PR for 2014 right away, both at the race site and on the internet—quickly and accurately, using start mats and finish line mats, providing net time as well as total time (the 10K will also have a mid point check mat so you can compare your 5K splits).

There will be a bag check--very helpful on January 1--plenty of free parking, post race party with live music, digital clocks every mile, heat sheets at the finish line, and of course beer! All participants who provide an email address will receive an electronic finishing certificate the next day. You do not want to miss this celebration.

It’s all about Quality and Fun
“We’re providing a top quality and fun event for all participants to start their year,” said race director Sean Donnelly. As director of the very popular Hynes Road Race, also in Lowell, Donnelly knows a thing or two about staging top notch events. “This event will provide all the excitement and amenities of the Hynes Road Race and the Wild Rover Series,” he added. “It’s all about running a good time, and having a good time.” If you need more information you can contact Sean by using

Race Headquarters, start, finish and post race party will be at the Lowell Elks, 40 Old Ferry Road in Lowell. This is right off Pawtucket Boulevard and very near the Rourke Bridge. Both races will blast off at 11:00 a.m. on January 1st. Packet pick up and late registration (if available) will be from 9:00 a.m. to 10:45 at the Elks Club. The races will start together with the 5K doing one (clockwise) loop and the 10K two loops on this well-designed course. The 5K has only four turns, about as good as can be on a loop course, and it is flat. A good portion of it will be along the scenic Merrimack, as the course heads upstream for more than a mile from just above Pawtucket Dam and Falls to just west of the Rourke Bridge.

Both courses were designed by Yankee Timing's Dave Camire who is known for designing lightning fast courses. He has designed the course for the Bay State Marathon, the Mill Cities Relay and the popular Good Times Series, among many others.

There is an excellent course map with elevation profile for each race on the Website at but the course is quite simple: It starts on Old Ferry Road, turns right or east on Varnum Avenue, turns right or west on Pawtucket Boulevard, and turns back onto Old Ferry Road with a right turn into the Elks parking lot to the triumphant 1st Run Finish. There will be digital clocks at each mile. The 10K will run this loop twice with a small arc added (Bedford Avenue and Jennifer Road) to make up the added distance.

We’ll have fun, fun, fun
Yes, this is going to be FUN! There will be some serious folks actually looking for a great pace on a very flat course with only a few turns. There will be those looking for a good time! And there will be those who finally drag themselves off the couch, fully committed to New Years resolutions to run regularly in 2014. But the primary theme for this pair of races is to have an absolute blast and bring in the New Year as all runners should—by running a great race on an enjoyable course. The run and post race party will be really awesome!

Picture this…
Another amenity will involve two of the best race photographers in the country, Jim Rhoades and Ted Tyler. You can see some of their work with links on the race Website. They will be taking shots in several spots, and it is very likely they will have one of every runner! You will be able to download free top quality photos of you and your friends running your first race of 2013. Check out Jimmy’s Website at for more samples of the work done by Jim and his associates.

Auld Lang Syne
Celebrate the New Year with like-minded runners and enjoy what has become, in only five years, a great tradition on the Merrimack River. The Merrimack Valley is one of the hotbeds for running in the entire USA, and also a hotbed of innovation. And here runners know how to race well and also have fun!

Will Run for Beer Series
This year the 1st Run kicks off the now famous "Will Run for Beer" race series in conjunction with LOCO Sports. The series includes seven events between January 1 and June 22, and the big reward is the "Will Run for Beer" jacket. And of course there is a point system too. Runners need only five of the seven to qualify for the jacket, and it is possible to complete those five with all 5K races. For the more adventurous there are longer options, including the 10K at the 1st Run, the Half Marathon at Half at the Hamptons on February 23; the Great Bay Half Marathon (a 5K is also included for that one) on April 6. Other races include the Smuttynose Palooza 5K on March 8; the April Fools Four Miler, March 29; and returning this year the Margarita's 5K in Exeter on June 8. Please visit the website for more detail and to register:

The 1st Run starts everything off--for the year and for the WRFB series. Don't hesitate, don't procrastinate, just get on that website and register. And then relax and enjoy. If you are running regularly, look forward to a really well managed and enormously fun event and celebration at 1st Run. If you plan to restart or increase your running in the new year, then signing up for this one NOW is the step you need to get off that couch and into fitness and fun.

For more information visit the Race Website at or contact Race Director Sean Donnelly at or call 978-382-2545.



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